Sacramento, CA --- The return of harness racing at Cal Expo means another chance to see Alpine Hawk, the popular 11-year-old trotter who has become a mainstay at this oval since switching his base from the East Coast several years ago.
The son of Movie Mogul, who carries the banner of Jim Winske with Gordie Graham the conditioner and Rich Wojcio in the sulky, just missed in the Open Trot to kick off the meeting last week and is reliable for his share of winner’s circle appearances over the next six months of this inaugural Watch and Wager stand.
For the record, Alpine Hawk has made 191 lifetime trips to the post, coming away with 50 wins, 36 seconds and 21 thirds while putting $186,000 in his bank account. You could say he’s done it the old-fashioned way.
“He is just a real kind, hard-trying horse who gives you everything he has each and every time you put him on the racetrack,” Wojcio related. “I’ve been driving horses since I was 16 years old and I still look forward to driving him. He’s just that kind of horse.”
Rich is happy that the trotters and pacers are back in action, along with everyone else who is involved with the game or enjoys it as a fan and/or bettor. “As far as the new meet, of course I hope it goes well for everyone. I also hope that they look out for the people who have always been here, the glue that keeps racetracks going.”
Claudius Augustus to make seasonal debut
Claudius Augustus, the track record holder for older horses here at Cal Expo, who has more than $303,000 in his lifetime account, makes his first start of the year in Friday night’s $6,000 Open Trot.
Set to take on the classy returnee are last week’s Open winner Giles L S Hanover, Franky Provolone, Shelby County, Parkhill Fantasia and Alpine Hawk. The headliner will go as the opener on a 15-race program and first post is 5:55 p.m.
This is the second week of the inaugural Watch and Wager LLC harness meet at this track, and racing will be conducted through May 11 on Friday and Saturday nights until Dec. 22, then three nights a week for the remainder of the meet on a Thursday-Saturday basis. The exception will be a special Wednesday (Dec. 26) card, with no racing the following evening.
Claudius Augustus is an 8-year-old son of Angus Hall and Claudes Last Lady who has recorded 28 wins from his 67 trips to the post while sporting a 1:53.3 standard that was established three years ago at the Meadowlands. Mooney Svendsen will guide the Bob Johnson trainee.
The hard-hitting trotter hasn’t been seen since 2011, when he landed in the charmed enclosure following six of his nine outings. He tuned up for his seasonal bow with a coast-to-coast tally in a qualifier last week and obviously deserves plenty of respect despite the lack of recent racing.
Bob Johnson’s barn will be strongly represented as he also sends out Giles L S Hanover, who scored a $17 upset in last week’s clash at the head of the trotting class. The 7-year-old son of S J’s Photo carries the banner of his trainer, Marty Garey, and Hank Wieseneck and held safe by a head last week over Alpine Hawk after opening a three length advantage in the stretch.
A reminder that there is a 50 cent Pick-5 beginning with the third race, a $1 Pick-4 with a guaranteed gross pool of $25,000 starting on the 11th race and a 10 cent Super High 5 conducted on the finale.
Each of these wagers feature a reduced 16 percent takeout rate and will have carryovers if there is no winning ticket. On Saturday night, the $1 Pick-4 returned a whopping $10,500, so jump right in because the pool is great.